Aggies' season kicks off on the road at SMU

Sophomore Marte Formico tallied an assist on both of the Aggies' goals in an exhibition against Chico State last weekend. (Photo by Wayne Tilcock/Davis Enterprise)
Aug. 23, 2017

THIS WEEK…
UC Davis (0-0, 0-0 Big West) at SMU (0-0, 0-0 American Athletic Conference)
Friday, Aug. 25, 2017 | 7:00 p.m. CT | Westcott Field | Dallas, Texas
FOLLOW: Live Video | Live Stats

San Francisco (0-0, 0-0 WCC) at UC Davis (0-0, 0-0 Big West)
Monday, Aug. 28, 2017 | 5:00 p.m. | Aggie Soccer Field | Davis, Calif.
FOLLOW: Live Video | Live Stats | Tickets

KICK OFF: The 2017 season for the UC Davis men's soccer team (0-0 overall, 0-0 in the Big West Conference) officially gets underway this weekend, as the Aggies head to Dallas to take on SMU in their season opener at 7:00 p.m. CT, before returning to Northern California to host San Francisco in a rare Monday match on Aug. 28 at 5 p.m.

IN THE RANKINGS: Neither UC Davis, nor its two opponents, are ranked in the national polls this week.

BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in UC Davis athletics by following us on Facebook (/ucdavisaggies) and Twitter (@UCDavisAggies), while the men’s soccer program is also available on both platforms: Facebook (/UCDavisMensSoccer) and Twitter (@UCDavisMSOC) -- the latter also featuring live in-game updates as the match progresses.

UC DAVIS PICKED SECOND IN BIG WEST PRESEASON POLL: The Aggies open the season with high expectations from the league coaches, picked to finish second in the Big West's North Division behind perennial power UC Santa Barbara. UC Davis, which received the third-most points among the league's eight members, garnered one first-place vote and 25 points overall -- just three back of the Gauchos, who picked up six first-place votes and 28 points overall to top the division for the fifth consecutive year.

TRIO HONORED ON BIG WEST PRESEASON TEAM: The UC Davis senior trio of Noah Wilson, Kyle Higgins, and Evan Barrett, picked up individual preseason honors, making up a quarter of the 12-member preseason All-Big West Conference team as voted on by the coaches. The selections of Wilson, Higgins, and Barrett, were the most by any league member, as Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara each placed two on the team. The trio, who joined former Aggie standouts Ramon Martin Del Campo (2014) and Matt Wiesenfarth (2012 & 2014) as preseason all-conference picks from UC Davis, represent nearly half of the Aggies' goals scored from a season ago.

A LOOK AT THE MUSTANGS: Friday's clash in Dallas also marks the season opener for SMU, which finished 6-9-1 overall and 2-4-1 in the American Athletic Conference a season ago… The Mustangs are two years removed from a conference title and a berth in the "Sweet 16" of the NCAA Tournament back in 2015, a run that saw them post wins over Utah Valley and Denver before falling to Akron… SMU was picked to finish fifth in the American, receiving one first-place vote, returning 21 letter winners and eight starters off of last season's squad… Preseason all-conference selection Garrett McLaughlin returns to lead the offense after scoring four goals and 11 points in 2016… Senior goalkeeper Michael Nelson was a unanimous preseason all-conference selection and the league's preseason goalkeeper of the year for a third time after recording 55 saves and three shutouts to go along with a 1.16 goals against average.

SERIES NOTES: UC Davis and SMU have met on only one other occasion, with the Mustangs posting a 1-0 win at the SMU Classic back in 2012.

A LOOK AT THE DONS: San Francisco opens the season on Saturday (Aug. 26) against UCLA before heading inland to take on UC Davis… The Dons opened the year with a pair of exhibition wins over Stanislaus State (1-0) and Sacramento State (3-2), getting goals from four different players… Senior midfielder Aaron Lombardi returns after ranking second on the team with 12 points -- eight of those on assists -- while senior Leon Schwarzer is the leading returning goal scorer with five… Junior goalkeeper Andre Glasnovic is the incumbent in net after starting 12 matches a season ago, posting a 1.94 goals against average and 44 saves.

SERIES NOTES: UC Davis leads the all-time series with San Francisco, 2-1-2, but the two programs haven't played since 2015 -- a 3-1 victory for the Aggies at home… After losing the first meeting in 2004, the UC Davis is unbeaten in the last four against the Dons -- including a 2-0 mark at Aggie Soccer Field after a 1-0 win in 2013.

AGGIES AT A GLANCE: A senior-laden Aggie squad returns 17 letter winners and eight starters from last year's squad that finished 8-9-3 overall and 4-6 in the Big West Conference, earning a berth in the league tournament in each of the last six seasons -- the only conference member to accomplish that feat during that span. UC Davis returns five of its top six scorers from last season, paced by senior midfielder Noah Wilson, who earned second-team All-Big West honors after scoring seven goals and 17 points overall. All told, the Aggies bring back 19 of their 26 goals scored, 19 of their 24 assists, and 196 of their 267 shots. In net, sophomore Wallis Lapsley is the incumbent after appearing in four matches last season, posting a 0.98 goals against average and eight saves.

AGGIES DRAW WITH WILDCATS IN EXHIBITION: Matt Baringer's brace helped the host Aggies erase an early first-half deficit, but a late goal by visiting Chico State proved to be the equalizer as the two former conference rivals forged a 2-2 double-overtime draw in an exhibition at the Aggie Soccer Field on Aug. 20. The Piedmont, Calif., native scored three minutes apart midway through the second half, netting his first in the 72nd minute on passes from Greg Salazar and Marte Formico, and his second in the 75th minute on another assist by Formico for a 2-1 advantage. The Wildcats, who scored in the 33rd minute to lead 1-0 at the break, then tied it up with just under eight minutes to play before both teams went scoreless in extra time.

FOR OPENERS: Dating back to the 1990 season, the Aggies are 10-13-4 in season openers, but just 2-6-2 since their first Division I campaign in 2007… Following last year's draw against San Jose State, UC Davis is 0-2-2 in its last four openers, looking for its first victory since a 1-0 shutout of UNLV in 2012… Friday's match at SMU marks the fourth time in the last five seasons that the Aggies will open the year on the road… The last six season openers for UC Davis have ended in a shutout for one side of the other.

SHAFFER'S MARCH TO 200: Now in his 21st season at the helm of the Aggie program, UC Davis head coach Dwayne Shaffer enters the 2017 campaign just three wins shy of 200 for his Division I coaching career, carrying a 197-165-51 record in 21 seasons -- 190 of those coming in his 20 years at UC Davis -- when you include his one year at Dayton. Overall, Shaffer has accumulated a total of 249 wins as a head coach at UC Davis (20 years), Dayton (one year) and Santa Rosa Junior College (four years).

MONDAY, MONDAY…: The Aggies hope it will be so good to them. UC Davis' home opener against San Francisco on Aug. 28 marks only the second time in the program's Division I history that the Aggies will play a match on a Monday, and the first in more than five years dating back to Aug. 27, 2012, when UC Davis and CSU Bakersfield battled to a scoreless draw on the Roadrunners' home field.

STATE OF THE AGGIES: Home of the nation's No. 6-ranked ranked public university in one of the top college towns in the country, UC Davis has continued to attract standout student-athletes from outside the friendly confines of the state of California. Although the 2017 UC Davis men's soccer roster will feature a majority of Californians, six Aggies hail from outside the "Golden State" -- the most in the program's Division I era. Sophomore goalkeeper Wallis Lapsley and freshman Kameron Carey (Washington), senior Chase Rhode (North Carolina), freshman Kyle Marcotte (Texas), and senior Kyle Higgins and sophomore Adam Mickelson (Montana), each represent the first Aggies from those states since the program made the jump to Division I in 2007.